“I’ve been told several times by lots of people that it ain’t going to happen overnight. It could take years and years.”
Luke Roberts is realistic about his goal to write a sitcom for the small screen. However, he’s also committed; he’s taken a year off from his job as a security analyst to dedicate his time to writing.
“I’ve always been looking for an opportunity to stop work for a little bit and to concentrate on writing and hopefully scrape a living through writing. Or drive myself into poverty trying,” he said.
Roberts came to Whitehorse in May and says he’s planning to move on in November. While some writers might find it distracting to move about from place to place, Roberts says he finds it stimulating to write in different parts of the world.
That’s one reason he’s currently in the Yukon, along with having a friend here and being attracted to the territory’s remote and wild location.
The globetrotting is perhaps in part connected to his background. While his accent places him as distinctly English and he owns an apartment in Berlin, Roberts isn’t able to say exactly where he’s from.
“I’m not really from anywhere specific because my family was a Forces family so we moved around. I lived in Germany for a few years and then Cypress for a few years and then within England moved around quite a lot as well, so I’ve continued a peripatetic kind of a lifestyle. Or I’m being chased.”
Roberts has several writing projects in progress as well as the sitcom, including a screenplay for a thriller and a biography of a man he describes as an “ex-military chap” who has had lots of adventures.
New to writing for television, Roberts is learning as he goes. While he’s had some training, he says he was advised by one large production company not to spend too much time taking courses.
“It’s too easy to fall into the trap of becoming a professional workshop attendee and buying all the books about writing rather than just getting on with the bloody writing,” Roberts said.
The sitcom he’s writing is called Adrenaline Junkets. “It follows a BBC reporter who’s attached to the most dangerous travel guide in the world who specializes in the Japanese adventure travel market,” explained Roberts, adding, “and the guide is a total fraud.”
Roberts is already talking to a UK production company about the sitcom and has so far received a good response.
“I’ve been reliably informed by the producer that I should try and pitch it where someone more than a moose will hear me pitch it. So, at some stage, I do have to go back to London,” he said.
While he appreciates any positive response he gets, he does wryly speculate whether there’s a minimal amount of encouragement that is actually dangerous. Because it could potentially, as he puts it, drive an aspiring writer to destitution. “It just keeps you going when you should probably stop.”
Look out for a series of “preposterous” articles Luke Roberts has written for What’s Up Yukon during his stay in Whitehorse. His first one appears on Page 5 of this issue.